Last night (Tuesday 27 October) the LSE Volunteer Centre and LSESU RAG Society hosted an evening celebration of all the volunteering and fundraising in 2019-2020 in the LSE community. We were joined by LSE staff, students and some of our fantastic partner charities. Over 30 students were nominated for LSE Volunteer of the Year 2020, which you can read here.
David Coles, LSE Volunteer Centre Manager, kicked off the evening welcoming all those in attendance and highlighted some of the new projects the centre is running this year, thanks to funding from the Student Futures project. 2020 has thrown up some of the most challenging circumstances for all of us, but particularly the most vulnerable in our society that a lot of our partner charities work with.
“This evening is about saying ‘thank you’. Thanking the School for continued support of the Volunteer Centre. Thanking our charity partners for the way in which they continue to give responsibility and opportunities to our students. And most of all thanking LSE students for the incredible volunteering they do in our communities.”
David Coles, LSE Volunteer Centre Manager
We were then joined by the LSE Director, Baroness Minouche Shafik, who also shared her gratitude to all of the LSE student volunteers at the awards. Volunteering is close to her heart and she shared her experiences of volunteering with her family and how volunteering ‘gets under your skin and stays with you for life’. Minouche also expressed the importance of volunteering in the current times, both for the beneficiary and for the volunteer themselves.
“We have to take care of ourselves, physically mentally and spiritually in times like these and volunteering is a great way to do this.” Baroness Minouche Shafik, LSE Director
Due to the postponement of the event, we were joined by both the 2019/20 and the 2020/21 Presidents of the LSESU RAG society, Victoria Longhi and Alice Rigo Saitta (respectively). RAG and other societies, raised an outstanding £100,000 in the 2019/20 academic year for their partner charities and many more organisations that work in our community.
Despite all of the challenges thrown at the LSE SU RAG team this year, they were still able to run multiple events and initiatives at the start of term, including the legendary Date Night and a new buddying scheme. Bringing passion and motivation to all that they do, they aim to support the charity sector through fundraising, in a time where it is desperately needed.
‘Let us use our privilege to support others, whether it is through fundraising or volunteering!‘ Alice Rigo Saitta (LSESU RAG President 2020-21).
LSE Volunteer of the Year 2020
The LSE Volunteer of the Year 2020 was awarded to Alex Lashley (BSc International Relations, 2021) for his incredibly work with Care4Calais, where he volunteered over the summer delivering emergency aid and supported refugees in Calais. He continues to support the charity in London through social media support to increase awareness and reach. He is also passionate about education, volunteering for Bright Futures UK, a charity supporting young people who have been forced to take time out of education.
“I am very happy and surprised to have won the award. As I was against some really great nominations. All of whom deserve our recognition.
The ceremony made me realise what an amazing community of volunteers we have here. So many people, doing so many things, but all making such a great difference. I’m proud to be a part of it.
Going forward, my own volunteering will be made that little bit easier knowing the LSE supports my endeavours!”
Alex Lashley (BSc International Relations, 2021)
Aminah Nihal (BSc in International Relations, 2021) and Emily Otvos (BSc in International Relations and History, 2020) were the co-founders and leaders of the Interfaith Group at LSE which aims to link women across LSE from different faith backgrounds and none, to build friendships across difference through social action activities. Part of the core tenet of the group has been charity and through partnering with LSESU FoodCycle they have been able to help serve food to those affected by homelessness in central London. Emily Otvos was also a committed and enthusiastic Interfaith Ambassador (a LSE Faith Centre programme), a role in which the ambassadors deliver different campaigns and initiatives to the LSE community. Aminah also drove iSoc to increase it’s impact through the GIVE programme, inspiring more members to get involved. There are many more ways in which these two student volunteers have contributed to the LSE community and we are delighted to award them with the Outstanding Contribution to the LSE Community 2020 award.
“The LSE volunteering space has made me realise what a privilege it is to work with individuals who are committed to making a real difference in our society. It is one which the Islamic Society and Women’s Interfaith Group have sought to expand through our fortnightly soup kitchens and sandwich making sessions whilst at the same time discuss some of the most pressing issues in our local community. Working with Emily and partnering with the Volunteer Centre, FoodCycle Society, Hands Off LSE, AU and many other LSE societies has taught me how even the smallest initiatives or the shortest conversations on important matters can contribute to the most significant changes. It is, therefore, such an honour to win this award alongside Emily, thank you very much!”
Aminah Nihal (BSc in International Relations, 2021)
LSE Voluntary Organisation of the Year 2020
We were proud to announce Salusbury World as the Organisation of the Year! Salusbury World work to support and empower refugee and migrant children, young people and their families to overcome obstacles, realise their rights and potential and participate fully in society. We’ve worked with Salusbury World for over 8 years and they have always been excellent volunteer managers and given a huge amount of time to engage with LSE students. Their continued enthusiasm and dedication has inspired many students to volunteer with them and we always receive excellent feedback about their programmes.
“We’re delighted to have won the LSE Voluntary Organisation of the Year award. Volunteers are the backbone of all Salusbury World’s work and it’s wonderful to know that LSE students think as much of us as we do of them!”
Lucy Elgood, Project Manager at Salusbury World
We’d like to say a massive thank you to our winners, nominees and supporters across the LSE community and charity sector. In our mission to inspire and empower students to volunteer, you have in turn inspired and empowered us!